Skip to main content

Reply to this post | See parent post | Go Back
View Post [edit]

Poster: user unknown Date: Jan 23, 2011 7:26pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Who Was (Catfish) John

From Grateful Lyric and sng finder...
Catfish John
Lyrics: Bob McDill, Alan Reynolds
Music: Bob McDill, Alan Reynolds

Played by Garcia both with Old And In The Way and with the JGB

From CMT...
Songwriter Bob McDill Talks About His Many Hits

McDill made his mark with a string of hits that also includes Don Williams' "Good Ole Boys Like Me," Waylon Jennings' "Amanda," Dan Seals' "Everything That Glitters (Is Not Gold)," Keith Whitley's "Don't Close Your Eyes," Sammy Kershaw's "She Don't Know She's Beautiful," Pam Tillis' "All the Good Ones Are Gone," Johnny Russell's "Catfish John" and "Rednecks, White Socks and Blue Ribbon Beer" and Mel McDaniel's "Baby's Got Her Blue Jeans On" and "Louisiana Saturday Night."

t was "Catfish John," a tune he co-penned with Reynolds, that propelled McDill into the front ranks of country songwriters. Russell recorded the song in 1972 and made it a No. 12 hit. "Catfish John was a real person," McDill said. "He was a friend of my dad's. I resurrected him."

From McDill's lyrics(Johnny Russell version)...

Catfish John was a river hobo...

Born a slave in the town of Vicksburg*
Traded for a chestnut mare
But still he never spoke in anger
Though his load was hard to bear

*Jerry sang "Richmond" with OAITW, but "Vicksburg" on "Reflections"

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: ringolevio Date: Jan 24, 2011 5:16am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Who Was (Catfish) John

Thanks. I really just posted it 'cus I found the thread so funny, the confusion of the two songs and the one guy just kept saying, Whaddaya mean, who was John, he was a river hobo, dammit. The conflation of the two songs - the Biblical apocalyptic stuff with freed slaves and river hobos - is like something out of Faulkner. Or O Brother Where Art Thou.

I had thought I was going to write up a little something on Catfish John but I couldn't find anything that wasn't already discussed here previously.

Here's a link to Johnny Russell, who made Catfish John a hit:

Don't ask me why he's dressed like a giant pumpkin.

The Alison Krauss versions are very nice too. She does the verses in reverse order.

The comment that Catfish John was a real person whom Bob McDill's father knew is intriguing. I googled around trying to find out if he had ever said more about that, but didn't find anything.

Presently listening to the one on 10-28-78. (sorry no link here, ipod)

This post was modified by ringolevio on 2011-01-24 13:16:03

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: Judge TOOTMO Date: Jan 24, 2011 10:03am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Who Was (Catfish) John

I think it's funny how the forumites start to think MarkDuffer is a troll because he posted a confusing question (though, I think it is them that makes the question confusing) and then disappears for a coupla hours?

Little did they know what monumentally, a-holish trolls this forum would eventually attract.